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By Sam Smith | 4.18.2015 | 8:30 p.m. CT
The Bulls Saturday fought off a determined Bucks team and pulled away for a 103-91 victory in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs.
Game 2 is 7:00 p.m. Monday.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with a playoff career high 25 points and Derrick Rose with 23 points and seven assists. Pau Gasol had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Taj Gibson was determined inside with eight points and 11 rebounds as the Bulls had a 52-41 edge on the boards. The Bulls also had an impressive 30 assists on 38 field goals. The Bucks were led by Khris Middleton with 18 points.
It was Western Conference unleashed in a wild and wacky first quarter as the Bulls led 30-29, the Bulls shooting 57.9 percent and the Bucks 59.1 percent despite the teams playing four defensive oriented games this season. Butler had 11 for the Bulls. It continued to be a surprisingly offensive game in the second quarter with the Bulls getting another big boost from the clever play of Aaron Brooks for a 39-32 lead. And then when Rose returned he blew by Michael Carter-Williams and split the Bucks traps for three impressive scores and 12 first half points as he combined with Butler for 29 and a 60-51 Bulls halftime lead. Rose then made three consecutive three pointers in the third quarter to give the Bulls a 77-66 lead and then went on to lead 86-75 heading into the fourth quarter.
1. They don’t have one of those fancy names, but Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were the Flash Brothers in Game 1 with both scoring more than 20 points through the first three quarters to carry the Bulls.
2. Though it doesn’t get noticed much, Taj Gibson laid some physical screens on Bucks defenders to free Bulls shooters as Gibson was aggressive inside.
3. The Bulls, though with 10 first half turnovers, were strong on the defensive boards, using their size to their advantage against the hustling Bucks. The Bulls had a 25-17 first half rebounding edge.